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Samsung removes ability to remap Bixby button to perform other functions

Through an app, Bixby button could be customized to perform other functions than launching the digital assistant only.

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Samsung’s latest flagships, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ will be available on April 21. Even as we are just three days away from its availability, Samsung is already making modifications to its AI-based assistant Bixby. It’s now learnt that you will not be allowed to remap the dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 series to perform functions other than launching the digital assistant. XDA Developers had devised a way to make Bixby’s button perform almost any other action the user wanted it to. Samsung has however confirmed that through an OTA update, the option to do so will be completely removed.

The dedicated Bixby button is located on the right side of the Galaxy S8 smartphones, and by pressing it the digital assistant is activated. Initially, one had to download an app called ‘All In One Gestures’ and by altering the accessibility features, it would create a custom key within the app. After doing so, when the Bixby button is pressed, it would generate a key up and key down feature enabling a user to choose a different function. This could vary from activating Google Assistant, Gmail, camera and more. There was no requirement for rooting the smartphone to install this app and use the feature. This was considered useful since Bixby is currently available in two languages of US English and Korean only. More languages are said to roll out later this year.

Samsung through an OTA update has altogether removed the ability to remap the Bixby button. Samsung did so by denying access to alter the Accessibility Services option in the Galaxy S8 smartphones. The third party app would be installed on the smartphone only by turning on the accessibility to download foreign apps. Samsung has altogether removed the option to alter the accessibility for Bixby. Philip Berne for Samsung US has confirmed this by saying that “It was exploiting a system-level behavior. That behavior has been changed. Can’t say it will never happen, but we won’t officially support”. ALSO READ: From Samsung Bixby to Apple Siri, is Artificial Intelligence ready for primetime?

XDA Developers further reported saying that a Galaxy S8 user can still remap the Bixby button on his review unit which is currently up to date. However, the Galaxy S8 user from Canada received the update which blocked the smartphone from remapping the Bixby button. ALSO READ: Samsung Bixby: If done well, it might leave people impressed yet again

Last week, Samsung said that Bixby would launch without its highlight feature – voice control. This feature would arrive on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ later via a software update. The other features of Bixby which are Vision, Home and Reminder would be available for use. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S8 to launch globally without Bixby’s voice feature

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  • Published Date: April 18, 2017 9:26 AM IST


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